An expert panel of India's central drug authority on Friday recommended granting emergency use authorisation to Serum Institute's Covovax for children aged 7 to 11 years, official sources said. The recommendation has been sent to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for final approval. The application for emergency use authorisation was submitted by Prakash Kumar Singh, director (government and regulatory affairs) at Serum Institute of India (SII) on March 16.
"The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) on Covid-19 of the CDSCO deliberated on the EUA application of SII and recommended granting emergency use authorisation for Covovax for children aged 7 to 11 years," an official source said. The expert panel in its last meeting in April had sought more data from the Pune-based firm over the application.
The DCGI had approved Covovax for restricted use in emergency situations in adults on December 28 and in the 12 to 17 years age group subject to certain conditions on March 9. The country began inoculating children aged 12-14 from March 16. The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 last year with healthcare workers getting inoculated in the first phase. Vaccination of frontline workers started from February 2 last year.
The next phase of Covid-19 vaccination commenced on March 1 last year for people over 60 years of age and those aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions. India launched vaccination for all people aged more than 45 years from April 1 last year. The government then decided to expand its vaccination drive by allowing everyone above 18 years of age to be inoculated against the viral disease from May 1 last year. The next phase of vaccination commenced from January 3 for adolescents in the age group of 15-18 years.
India began administering precaution doses of vaccines to healthcare and frontline workers and those aged 60 and above with comorbidities from January 10. Precaution dose of Covid-19 vaccines for all aged above 18 years began at private vaccination centers from April 10.